Buick Crowns Tweener CUV Its Sales Stud

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
buick crowns tweener cuv its sales stud

The Buick Encore GX, a larger, unrelated Encore with fewer cylinders than you’re used to, quietly appeared in the brand’s stable just as “pandemic” became every newscast’s favorite word. Like its Chevrolet Trailblazer fraternal twin, the Encore GX boasts a more spacious body than its subcompact stablemate and a brace of three-pot engines designer for power and thrift.

While the little Encore has been Buick’s sales leader for years, the brand says that’s already changed. Still, there are no immediate plans to ditch the GX’s smaller namesake.

As reported by Automotive News, Buick expects the Encore GX’s sales dominance to continue, at the expense of the slightly re-positioned Encore. That’s just fine for Buick, as the Encore GX’s loftier price tag means beefier margins.

With the larger (1.3-liter) of its two three-cylinder engines, the Encore GX rates a 31 mpg EPA combined fuel economy figure in front-drive guise, better than its 1.4-liter four-cylinder Encore companion. It’s also more potent, at 155 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. A 1.2-liter triple can also be had, connected only to the front wheels.

To prevent too much overlap, Buick dropped the Encore down to two trims for 2020: 1SV and Preferred, with an AWD Preferred stickering for $27,095 after destination. A “base” Encore GX FWD Preferred starts at $25,095, while a top-flight AWD Essence trim (with uplevel engine) retails for $31,495 after destination.

Tweener CUVs are a hot commodity right now, with Mazda’s new CX-30 capturing plenty of buyers in the not-quite-subcompact, less-than-compact space. Chevy intends to do the same with the Trailblazer, offering an alternative to the Trax and Equinox.

According to Buick’s marketing manager, Rob Peterson, the company expects the U.S. auto industry to add 1.5 million annual sales in this new segment — one GM is well-positioned to exploit. For now, the two Encores will “coexist,” he said, adding that, while the Encore posted more sales during the first half of the year, the appearance of the GX model shortly after the calendar change heralds a reversal of fortunes. In June, Peterson said the Encore GX muscled aside the brand’s former No. 1 in terms of volume.

It looks like a quick catch-up. After posting just 2,601 sales in the first quarter, the Encore GX moved 9,256 units in Q2 — a close finish behind the Encore’s 10,033. Last quarter, more than 54 percent of Buick’s volume carried an Encore badge of some type.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Ajla Ajla on Aug 10, 2020

    I actually got to drive one of these on Saturday. It is by no means a "luxury" CUV but it gets the "okay" rating from me. The 1.3L was passable, the price wasn't in WTF territory, you can get it in some interesting colors, and it has a GLORIOUS off button for stop/start. I found it much better than the original Encore, which is just a never-ending nut punch.

    • Spookiness Spookiness on Aug 11, 2020

      Just looked at the website. Color selections are indeed very nice. Has heated steering and mirrors and a few other features CX-30 lacks, plus a little more room.

  • Buickman Buickman on Aug 10, 2020

    no word about the GX recall rendering 80% of inventory undeliverable?

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?